Published in Biofuels, Bioproducts, & Biorefining, Volume 8, Issue 4, July 1, 2014, pages 545-567.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Yi-Wen Chiu was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1002/bbb.1483.
The 2011 US Billion-Ton Update estimates that by 2030 there will be enough agricultural and forest resources to sustainably provide at least one billion dry tons of biomass annually, enough to displace approximately 30% of the country's current petroleum consumption. A portion of these resources are inaccessible at current cost targets with conventional feedstock supply systems because of their remoteness or low yields. Reliable analyses and projections of US biofuels production depend on assumptions about the supply system and biorefinery capacity, which, in turn, depend upon economic value, feedstock logistics, and sustainability. A cross-functional team has examined combinations of advances in feedstock supply systems and biorefinery capacities with rigorous design information, improved crop yield and agronomic practices, and improved estimates of sustainable biomass availability. A previous report on biochemical refinery capacity noted that under advanced feedstock logistic supply systems that include depots and pre-processing operations there are cost advantages that support larger biorefineries up to 10 000 DMT/day facilities compared to the smaller 2000 DMT/day facilities. This report focuses on analyzing conventional versus advanced depot biomass supply systems for a thermochemical conversion and refinery sizing based on woody biomass. The results of this analysis demonstrate that the economies of scale enabled by advanced logistics offsets much of the added logistics costs from additional depot processing and transportation, resulting in a small overall increase to the minimum ethanol selling price compared to the conventional logistic supply system. While the overall costs do increase slightly for the advanced logistic supply systems, the ability to mitigate moisture and ash in the system will improve the storage and conversion processes. In addition, being able to draw on feedstocks from further distances will decrease the risk of biomass supply to the conversion facility.